Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Beauty Secret of Mormon Wives, 1923

Beauty Secret of Mormon Wives, 1923

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 25, 2011

This newspaper and magazine advertisement dates to 1923 —



  1. I don’t think there IS an appropriate comment for that.

    I mean, have they SEEN the Great Salt Lake? I can only assume it wasn’t that nasty back then.

    Comment by SilverRain — February 25, 2011 @ 8:01 am

  2. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, even though it was still cold and gray and barren, if not polluted, the Lake was an extremely popular recreation spot for both locals and tourists. Somewhere along the line our tastes sure changed!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 25, 2011 @ 8:28 am

  3. I knew a girl who used to use gun powder as a mud pack. Didn’t work, her face was shot to heck.

    Comment by Rameumptom — February 25, 2011 @ 8:33 am

  4. Pffffft!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 25, 2011 @ 8:54 am

  5. I’ll have to drop by 15 W. 37th Street and see whether they’ve got any bags of the stuff lying around. If they do, I’ll post a follow-up comment and offer to ship it to anybody who’s interested.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 25, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  6. Ouch! I remember an annual trip to Black Rock beach and any skinned knee or elbow or a slight scratch would burn like crazy in that water. And somewhere in my cache of memorabilia I have a postcard with a fuzzy color print of people floating at Saltair. It has little bag of salt attached to it.

    Comment by CurtA — February 25, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  7. Anybody want to bet that whatever this Brooklyn company was selling in 1923 was made from salt found in the east? Or do you think they really freighted all that heavy stuff clear across the continent, only to put it in little boxes and ship it out again?

    I remember postcards with those little bags of salt, Curt! Another bet: The post office with their mechanized systems would blow a gasket if anybody tried to mail one of them today.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 25, 2011 @ 9:59 am

  8. So the salty bathwater pulls so much moisture out of your skin (by osmosis) that you weigh a few pounds lighter on getting out of the bath….

    Comment by Clark — February 25, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  9. The dating on this is interesting. I’ve been reading Jared Farmer’s On Zion’s Mount and it indicates that the interest in the “curative and medicinal” properties of the hot springs and the Great Salt Lake peaked in the couple of decades following the completion of the transcontinental railroad. This had to be really way down on the trailing edge of the health fad of “taking the waters”.

    On the other hand, the promise of weight loss without dieting or the “fatigue of exercise” is just as fresh now as then, when you look at sites like this.

    Comment by kevinf — February 25, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  10. Sorry Ardis, but that’s a New York (Manhattan) address. Nobody in Brooklyn would try to pull a con like that. : )

    Comment by Mark B. — February 25, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  11. Oh, gee, I was misled by your plan to visit the address. I never dreamed you would cross out of Brooklyn, Mark!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 25, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  12. Two thoughts. First, this contradicts the normal fictional representation back then of Mormon women as tired, homely, pathetic souls with no option but polygamy.

    Second, I have been intimidated for years by a snippet out of the life of a “Mormon Wife” of this era (my great grandmother) which mentions Saltair. Here it is:

    In the summer for several years, Monday morning she’d get all her clothes washing done, hung outside, dried, and brought in, folded and put away. That was using the system of three tubs and through the wringer three times before hanging to dry. Breakfast dishes done, lunch put up and two or later three children ready. We were put in the “Essex” and she drove to the Saltair Train Depot to catch the 11:30 train to Saltair, a large resort on the Great Salt Lake. Monday was free day at Saltair and a free ride on the train. The children would play: swing, play in the sand, watch people or seagulls, run up sixty steps to the dance floor, and play in the fun house for an hour if we were old enough or had a dime. There were three other families of friends to play with and eat with while our mothers played bridge.

    Well, it looks like they weren’t actually bathing. Perhaps doing all that laundry by hand was their weight loss secret.

    Comment by Researcher — February 25, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  13. … all that laundry by hand and at warp speed to have it all done in time to catch an 11:30 train!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 25, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  14. I have never heard that swimming in Great SAlt Lake would reduce fat. I went to various resorts there as a child with my family. I also have pictures of some family members floating in the lake — Centerville Ward parties and family parties. We all thought it was fun to float in the water.

    Comment by Maurine Ward — February 25, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  15. I remember my first trip to the Great Salt Lake: Brine shrimp, brine flies, and burning eyes. I did float – and that was exciting! (For 2-3 minutes)

    Comment by Middle-aged Mormon Man — February 25, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  16. I took my daughter to Saltair once. It didn’t have much to offer except the floating. It was cool to be so buoyant, but the thrill hardly seemed worth the trouble. The facilities were primitive and largely deserted. In a day before showers I wonder how people got the salt off. I suppose they just stayed salty, allowing more of that wicked water weight to be pulled out, but the itch would have driven me crazy.

    I’m going to be there in April, and I suppose I will have to take my other children to the lake for a dip. I expect we will freeze in the super-cooled brine, but hey you have to go when you get the chance.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — February 27, 2011 @ 9:44 am

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